There are so many music streaming services to choose from out there, but Spotify and Apple Music continue to dominate the landscape. Choosing between the two services is easier said than done, as both have their full list of pros and cons.

This article will compare the streaming quality, cost, and other factors of both Spotify and Apple Music to help you decide which service is the right choice for you.

Spotify

Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming services, with more than 40 million songs from more than two million artists.

Cost

Spotify costs $9.99 per month for the standard plan and $14.99 for the Family Plan, which enables up to six users per account. Students can receive full Spotify service for $4.99. If you’re interested in giving Spotify a spin on PlayStation 4, the cost is $2 for the first two months and then $9.99 per month after that.  

Spotify also has a free tier with ad support. It’s not a bad option, but ads tucked behind every few songs can really break any musical vibe you’ve got going. If you aren’t a customer and want to give Premium a try, you’ve got a 30-day period to try it out.

Stream Quality

Spotify gives multiple options for streaming. Mobile users can stream in increments up to a max of 320kbps, while desktop users can choose between 160kbps and 320kbps. Spotify’s web browser has different options based on whether you are a free or a Premium user.

Social Integration

Spotify links up to Facebook, which gives users the ability to find out what their friends are listening to. It’s a great way to compare your musical tastes with your friends and make suggestions on new songs they might enjoy.

Privacy

There have been concerns over Spotify’s handling of data. Not only is all of your Spotify activity public unless you take steps to hide what you’re doing, but even an “Anonymous” Spotify account isn’t really anonymous.

If someone figures out it’s you, there’s nothing stopping them from tracking what you’re doing. The most concerning of these reports is a story that surfaced about a girl whose abusive ex-boyfriend stalked and harassed her over Spotify.

Apple Music

Apple Music seemed to come out of left field, but given Apple’s history with music and media players, it’s no surprise that the company dropped an instant-hit music streaming service. Apple Music claims to have more than 40 million songs, putting it on-par with Spotify’s library numbers.

Cost

Apple Music follows a similar payment plan to Spotify, starting at $9.99 per month for standard plans and $14.99 per month for family plans. Students can get Apple Music for $4.99 per month.

If you want to give Apple Music a spin, you can try a three-month trial before the service begins to charge you. Unfortunately, there is not a free option for Apple Music. You can try out Beats 1 and listen to other Apple Music radio stations, but you won’t have access to the full library of songs.

Stream Quality

Unlike Spotify, Apple Music only has one option for stream quality. All Apple Music songs stream as 256kbps AAC . The good news is that only the most dedicated, die-hard audiophiles will be able to tell the difference between the highest-quality Apple Music stream and the highest-quality Spotify stream.

Social Integration

Apple Music doesn’t let friends follow one another, but it does have an interesting social feature: Connect. Apple Music Connect lets fans follow their artists and see special content that is posted solely for people using the service.

Some of the most popular artists—like Drake and Pearl Jam—are on Connect. The only downside is that you are automatically opted into the Connect program; when you add an artists’ song to your library, you automatically follow them.

Privacy

Apple Music has a more robust privacy policy than Spotify, but there are still certain details left visible to everyone: namely, your handle, display name, photo, and who you follow. However, other information like your location, is not gathered.

Your device generates a “trust score” when you attempt to make a purchase, but this information is stored only for a limited time. Apple has a solid track record for protecting consumer privacy, and Apple Music doesn’t appear to stray from that.

Which Option Wins?

The battle between Apple Music and Spotify is a close one. Both services have a huge number of songs to choose from and a similar pricing structure, but there are a few major differences.

Spotify’s multiple streaming choices make it easy to adjust quality based on what’s available to you at the moment. On the other hand, Apple Music has a better privacy policy. As for social integration, Spotify pulls ahead, but only barely—and that’s just because you can follow friends instead of artists you have never met.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to personal preference. Does consumer privacy or social integration matter more to you? Do you want choices over your stream quality?

Decide which factor of the service is most important and decide whether Apple Music is more your speed, or if you prefer to go with the tried-and-true Spotify.